I am always amazed when I read the Gospel of Matthew. Right near the end of the gospel, the resurrected Jesus appears once again to His disciples. This time they are on the mountain and Jesus is about to ascend into heaven. Mathew records the reaction of the disciples when Jesus appears to them…
Matthew 28:17 “The moment they saw him, they worshipped Him, but some still had lingering doubts.” (The Passion Translation)
Hard to believe that after numerous appearances to all of them, some of them, and even a few one-on-one, some could still be struggling with doubts.
But, it should not surprise me, I suppose, as Jesus even told us this would be the case. John records the words of Jesus…
“The words I speak to you are Spirit and life. But there are still some of you who won’t believe.” (The Passion Translation)
Here Jesus apparently is prophesying what Matthew would later record. That some of those who heard the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom and even followed Jesus – seeing Him raised from the dead – would simply never come to fully believe and give Him their complete obedience and allegiance. Doubt would defeat them.
Well, the same is still true today – some are not fully convinced that they should give Him 110% holding nothing back. There are many who say they believe in Jesus. However, they don’t live like they do. They are not applying God’s Word to their life style – their words, actions, attitude. They are not obeying the Scriptures. Remember, Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will obey Me.” So, although they confess to follow Jesus and that they believe in Him, it would seem that they don’t. After all, when it comes to the Scriptures, you only believe what you have applied to your life. It is always much more than mental assent – it is heart transformation leading to total obedience. “But some doubted.”
Jesus says that, in Matthew 7:24 “Anyone who hears my teaching and applies to the his life…”
Application is the key. Living what you say you believe … And, if you don’t, maybe you don’t really believe. Some won’t really believe. Jesus prophesied it. They will know God’s Word in their mind but not be applying it or living it from their hearts. They will doubt and allow those doubts to sidetrack them.
I recently spoke with a graduate engineer and we got around to talking about the age of the earth. His area of engineering is the study of the earth’s surface. So, his scientific approach and his university education taught him that the earth is millions if not billions of years old. And, that seed of doubt planted has sidetracked him and moved him out of the faith. “And some doubted.”
And, there are some who are apparently walking in the power of the Spirit. They are healing people, casting out demons, and even prophesying in the Name of Jesus. Yet, they too are not true followers and have missed the point. Jesus says of them…
Matthew 7:21-23 ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the realm of heaven’s kingdom. It is only those who persist in doing the will of my heavenly Father. On the day of judgment many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, don’t you remember us? Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we cast out demons and do many miracles for the sake of your name?’ But I will have to say to them, ‘Go away from me, you lawless rebels! I’ve never been joined to you!’”
They were doing what they wanted and not the will of the Father. So, maybe they were born again and initially followed Jesus but somewhere things took a left turn and they began to believe in themselves and their own ministry – leaving God’s ministry and entering their own – following their own agenda and not God’s will. They doubted that God knew best.
Jesus says, that on the last days they too will be banished from His Kingdom. They too doubted God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s way. Instead they did what they thought was right and did it in the way they thought was best. And God’s ways are much higher than our ways.
So, we are still in decision time. We can choose to believe in the resurrected Jesus, His will, His way, His love, His Kingdom, and His purpose of seeking and saving the lost. And follow Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Or, we can choose to allow doubt to enter in and derail us from walking in God’s perfect will for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).
Our choice – and it is a daily decision.